Becoming an Earthwatch volunteer is an easy but effective way to make a real difference to the environment while broadening your own horizons. So how about sparing some time this summer to help conserve some of Britain's most treasured wildlife?
In seven days you can help compile the first baseline survey of grey seals during the breeding season on the beautiful Isles of Scilly. Expect a rare insight into these wonderful creatures as you make daily trips to grey seal breeding sites where you will carefully photograph pups and adults and monitor human activity in the area. Your efforts will be part of a wider effort to conserve grey seal populations and provide future recommendations for the management of their breeding sites. The project runs throughout September and costs just £500.
In five days you can learn to sail an 11.7 metre sailing ship in Cornwall or the Inner Hebrides while working to protect the world's second largest fish, the Basking shark. Recording shark sightings, photographing their dorsal fins for identification and video taping their behaviour are just three ways that you can play a pivotal role in this conservation initiative. The project operates from May to August and costs £555.
In three days you can help to monitor the growing otter population in the Cotswolds, which is now beginning to recover from the damaging effects of pesticides and river pollution. You will be trained to carry out otter population surveys, identify their preferred prey and construct an artificial Holt where otters will hopefully rest and breed. Forget the DIY and the weekend shopping trip; this could be the most productive and rewarding long weekend of 2005. The project runs in May and September and costs only £165.
Other Earthwatch projects in the UK include Hebridean Whales and Dolphins, Reclaiming the land in Wales, Mammals of Wytham Woods, Oxfordshire, Discovering Yorkshires Dinosaurs and Behind the Scenes of Grey Whales Conservation in Bath.
Anyone over the age of 16 can join an Earthwatch research project and no experience is necessary. Prices include all food, accommodation and training. For dates and more information about all of our 140 projects please visit http://www.earthwatch.org/ or call 01865 318831. Become an Earthwatch supporter and receive discounts on all UK projects. A donation of just £2.50 a month will help us to save threatened species worldwide.
Zoe Gamble, Press Officer, Earthwatch: Tel: +44 (0)1865 318806 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo credit: Jane Applegarth/EWE